Egyptians keep up reform pressure


Thousands rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square to call for a swifter pace of reform (AP)

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, trying to keep up pressure on Egypt’s military rulers to carry out reforms and calling for the dismissal of those associated with the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The square had been the centre of an 18-day uprising that brought down Mr Mubarak on February 11. The Egyptian military took over from Mr Mubarak, but assigned government affairs to a caretaker Cabinet until elections can be held.

Demonstrators said they were worried the army was not moving quickly enough on reforms, including repealing emergency laws, releasing political prisoners and removing members of Mr Mubarak’s regime from power.

Thousands chanted that they will not leave until they see Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, one of the Mubarak-era politicians, removed from office.

“We made Mubarak step down and we must make Shafiq also step down,” said Safwat Hegazy, a protester from the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best-organised opposition group.

Demonstrators said they would stage large rallies every Friday until their demands are met.

Protester Wael Hassan, 32, said he felt much still needs to be done to ensure change.

“Mubarak is still free and moving around. His sons and his wife and the members of his regime are still moving freely, except for a few scapegoats,” he said.

Since Mr Mubarak’s fall, the military rulers have disbanded both houses of parliament and promised constitutional reforms that will allow wider participation in elections, to be held within six months.

Authorities have also moved against members of Mr Mubarak’s regime, arresting a number of former ministers and prominent businessmen on corruption allegations.

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